WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Leaping toward the quickly approaching Christmas season, the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre is gearing up for its beloved annual performance, this time, with a twist.

The Nutcracker, the timeless tale of Clara and her enchanted doll, will make its annual return to the Memorial Auditorium on the first weekend of December.

In honor of the Ballet’s 60th Anniversary, the theatre partnered with the Wichita Fall Symphony Orchestra to treat the audience and performers alike with live orchestral accompaniment.

“Anytime you can collaborate with another entity artistically, I think it elevates everyone. We’re all better for it,” Maestro Fouad Fakhouri said. “So, this marriage of dancers and music together, it’s just a joy to get to do.”

While live performances can present obstacles and potential mistakes, Fakhouri said those blips are just the beauty of art.

“You just have to roll with it. You have to adapt it as part of the performance and continue moving along,” Fakhouri explained. “You can’t stop. And, great artists are able to take that obstacle, that wrinkle in the performance, and change it to become a positive.”

Performing with the symphony for the first time in over five decades, ballet Artistic Director Mishic Liberatore said she’s eager for ballet-goers to experience both the music and the dancers.

“To celebrate our 60 years and to bring back the live music element is really going to be an amazing experience for our audience members,” Liberatore said. “I’ve always felt that ballet should be performed to live music, so the fact that we have it in such a small community is really going to make it a special experience for everybody.”

No stranger to the Christmas classic, Liberatore once starred as Clara in The Nutcracker, and she has passed that baton to two of her daughters now.

Wearing the exact dress as her mother and sister before her, Adaline Liberatore will join a long line of Liberatores to be cast as Clara, something she said she’s eager for.

“I’m most excited to dance with the symphony because dancing to live music is so much more fun,” Adaline said. “They sometimes speed things up a little bit, and you’re not expecting it. It’s easy but it’s also hard at the same time.”

As they’re quite literally kept on her toes, Adaline and Mishic are gearing up for the performances on Friday, December 1, 2023, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, December 2, at 1 and 7 p.m.

To purchase tickets for the Nutcracker or to learn more about how Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre serves the community through dance, visit their website.